Roman Catholic bishops from Belgium’s Flanders region on Tuesday issued a document allowing the blessing of same-sex marriage – in direct contradiction to the Vatican’s ruling on the matter.
The document was published on the website of the Belgian Bishops’ Conference, and listed a ritual that includes prayer and a final “prayer” in front of the spouses’ family and friends.
She stressed that while such blessings did not change Catholic doctrine on “family marriage,” the move would allow the church to be “pastorally close to homosexuals” and “welcoming.” [place] No one is excluded.”
Willie Bombeck, a gay Catholic, has also been appointed as an additional Family Pastoral Care Officer to oversee the treatment of fellow gay and Catholic colleagues.
So far, there has been no response from the Holy See’s press office.
The Catholic Church’s position on same-sex marriages was addressed in March 2021, with the Vatican’s dogmatic office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) ruling against their blessing – a position strongly condemned by the Bishop of Antwerp.
The Holy See described such a position claiming that it “was not intended to be a form of unjust discrimination, but rather a reminder of the truth of the liturgical rite” of the sacrament of marriage and the blessing associated with it.
Pope Francis himself has shown greater openness towards the LGBTQ+ community than his predecessors.
In July 2013, just months after being elected pope, he said he was in no position to “judge” gays who “are in a position to judge.”[seek] God and goodwill.”
He also previously supported same-sex civil marriages and stated that homosexuals are “children of God and have the right to a family”.
However, Francis maintains Catholic teachings about homosexuality, which views same-sex relations as a sin and does not condone same-sex marriage.
The Flemish bishops emphasized that their decision to allow the blessing of same-sex marriage was not intended as an act of resistance against the Vatican.
“This is first and foremost a positive message,” archbishops spokesman Geert de Kerpel told Reuters.
The move was also supported across the pond, with Francis Dibernardo, executive director of the US-based Catholic group New Ways Ministry, concurring with the decision.
“These bishops understand that love is love. Love is more important than sexual behavior, and love is something the Church should always bless,” he said in a statement.